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Tips make for comfy camping

by Staff report | May 30, 2017 at 1:00 a.m.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF River camping offers solitude and scenery on overnight or multiday float trips. This campsite is along the Current River in southeast Missouri.

Editor's note: Camping season is in full swing. Each spring families and individuals embark on their first camping adventure. Here are tips contributed by readers and by other experienced campers.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BRYAN HENDRICKS A lantern is essential for illuminating a campsite on a moonless night in Arkansas.

• A TV tray with a folding stand makes a great camp table, especially when canoe camping.

• Make a check list. Write down even the smallest items you want to take camping. Cross them off the list as you pack each item and you won't forget anything.

• Where soil is thin, put the groundcloth inside the tent instead of outside. You'll stay dry in the heaviest rain.

• Solar-powered light sticks make fine night lights for reading in the tent. Take a small vase with a drain hole in the bottom. Turn the vase upside down and place the light stick in the drain hole. Now you have a nice lamp.

• Freeze water in a gallon milk jug and use this instead of bagged ice in your food cooler. As it melts you'll have cold ice water to drink and your food won't be swimming in a pool of water.

• Soy milk keeps longer in an ice chest than dairy milk.

• Freeze main course food such as spaghetti, chili or cooked chicken. The food will last two to three days as it thaws in a cooler. Chicken breasts thaw in about three days.

• Sprinkle 5 percent Sevin dust around the camp area to ward off ticks and chiggers.

• Those silver emergency blankets really work. We've used them in a couple of situations while kayak camping, and they really do keep you warm.

• Small, folding camp chairs are great for kayak camping.

• When kayak camping, pack gear in several small dry bags instead of one or two big ones. You can fit several small bags into the kayak's storage areas better than large bags.

• Always bring rain gear, no matter what the forecast.

• Sleep with the same number of pillows when you camp as you do at home.

• A quality camping air mattress is great for a good night's sleep. They pack down to a small size and inflate quickly with a small battery-operated pump.

• If possible, schedule your first camping trip with experienced campers. You'll learn from them, see what gear they use and what you'll need to bring to camp on your own.

• Save lint from the clothes dryer. It makes great fire starter.

• Leave your radio at home. No one wants to hear your favorite kind of amplified noise.

Camping with children

• When camping with kids, bring books and games to keep then occupied in case of a rainy day.

• Before taking kids on their first camping trip, schedule a night or two sleeping in the back yard. This helps children gain confidence in the tent, sleeping bags and sleeping outdoors.

• It's so important to leave your campsite cleaner than you found. When a child sees a parent picking up trash someone else has left, it teaches a lasting lesson about taking care of the environment.

• Involve kids in planning and preparing. They learn important lessons when studying maps, preparing food and selecting their own clothing to take.

• With kids, let the night's campfire die gradually as bedtime nears. It's a subliminal signal for them to get sleepy. This works best if you don't pump then full of 15 high-sugar s'mores.

• A campsite near water is great for kids. They can keep themselves amused for hours along a creek bank or lake shore.

More camping tips

• Camp during the week if possible. Campgrounds are most crowded on weekends.

• Take duct tape. It has a hundred uses, from fixing a tent pole to patching a canoe.

•Take two lighters, one to use and one to lose.

• Store your camping gear in a little-used room at home, such as a formal dining room or spare bedroom. It'll make packing much easier.

• Ladies, suggest that your significant other plan the meals and cook when camping, since it is usually the other way around at home.

• Assemble a basic first aid kit and inspect it each year. A sewing kit is also good to have.

• Use a tent's ground cloth properly. Be sure none of it is sticking out beyond your tent's floor footprint. Otherwise you've created a bowl to collect rain water under your tent. Not good.

• Channel-lock pliers are handy for lifting lids and moving pans around a campfire.

• Put coolers and trash inside the car before going to bed. Critters can't bother them there.

• Pack only a couple changes of clothes. You end up wearing the same clothes for a few days at a time. If they smell like campfire smoke, so much the better.

• Don't scatter your ice in a cooler. Place the whole unopened bag inside. Ice lasts longer this way.

• Leave your cell phone and wrist watch at home. Relax.

Sports on 05/30/2017

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